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Built To Spill

15-Jul-2007 03:09 PM Contributed by: pete Concert Reviews
Built To Spill
Lee's Palace in Toronto, Ontario Built To Spill July 11, 2007
Photos by: Pete Nema Full Photo Set (12 photos)

I've been a listening to Built To Spill since sometime after they released their 1999 album Keep It Like A Secret, a relatively short time compared to their 15 years spent together, but not too bad for a boy from Toronto a city that Built To Spill has left out of their tour roster until now. And over the past three albums, they've slowly become one of my all-time favourite bands. Both Keep It Like A Secret and Ancient Melodies Of The Future are brilliant albums, and their current effort You In Reverse is growing on me with every listen. Although this was their first time in Toronto, they partially made up for it by playing two back-to-back sold out shows at Lee's Palace on July 10th and 11th.

Built To Spill
Built To Spill
Built To Spill

I wasn't sure what to expect having never seen them perform before, or even videos of them performing, but I quickly learned that Built To Spill's show is not about high energy stage antics, it's about the material. The five piece band is led by Doug Martsch (vocals, guitar), who also completed some very decent solo work back in 2002. With a total of three guitars, one bass, and a drum kit, their music is heavily guitar-based. The three crafty guitar players intertwine their work creating layers of sounds, but prevent overload by not always all playing all the time (if you know what I mean).

Built To Spill
Built To Spill
Built To Spill

For one song, one of the guitar players, Brett, stepped off stage for a short break. The break seemed a little longer than I was expecting, and it turns out there was a reason for that. A fan who was looking to spend as little time away from the music as possible to go to the bathroom popped around backstage searching for a backstage toilet. But there is no backstage toilet at Lee's (a feature of the venue that has been mentioned by other bands on stage there). Anyway, the fan pushed through the door at the back finding herself out back with Brett. In the process, she knocked the block that was holding the door open and the door closed behind here, locking the two of them outside. She told me she had to run around to the front to convince a security guard that she had, in fact, locked one of the musicians out back. A funny situation for sure, but luckily it did not impact the set, at least not that I could tell.

Built To Spill
Built To Spill
Built To Spill

The set list included songs from as far back as their first album Ultimate Alternative Wavers from 1993, and a bunch of fan favourites from their other albums, including a version of You Were Right that became a bit of a sing-a-long. I'm told they like to mix up their set list, and as I was walking out I overheard one concert goer that had been there both nights say that there was very little overlap between Tuesday and Wednesday night. After each song, Doug would respond to the wild applause and screaming with a quick "thanks" before moving on. He made a few other comments throughout, but he's primarily on stage to play. For the last song of the encore, they played a heavily extended version of Randy Described Eternity where they tested the audience's patience by finishing the song with a seemingly endless jam session. In fact, Scott Plouf started to pack up his drum kit while the jam continued, and had it nearly completely ready for transport before Martsch faded out his last note.

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Built To Spill
Authored by: Anonymous on 07-Dec-2007 03:04 AM
that third pic of doug with his head in the bottom left is awesome.
not sure if it's me but it looks as though you caught the steam coming off of his head. pretty wicked.

btw, i really like your work

~migliofito
Built To Spill
Authored by: pete on 07-Dec-2007 03:24 AM
Hey thanks! That's actually one of those ideas for a shot I got just watching him play. You can practically see his thoughts, and he needs all that space for them. So that steam you're seeing coming off his head must be his brain waves.